A man initially charged with first degree rape and kidnapping pleaded guilty to amended charges and was sentenced in Tulsa County District Court this week. Jerry Tyrone Leblanc, 60, was arrested in December 2013 after a 15-year-old girl told police that the man forced her at gunpoint into his vehicle and drove her to a hotel, where he made her drink alcohol before raping her.
Charges in the Case Include Rape
Leblanc was charged with first degree rape, kidnapping, and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony. Things are not always as they seem, though. As the judicial process continued, more evidence came to light which Assistant District Attorney Nick Codding said required prosecutors to amend the charges.
Codding would not reveal the information that prompted the change, citing the victim's age and the nature of the charges. The state dismissed the firearm possession charge and the kidnapping charge.
The first degree rape charge was amended to second degree rape, and prosecutors added a charge of furnishing alcohol to a minor. Leblanc pleaded guilty to the two remaining charges: statutory rape and furnishing alcohol to a minor.
Second degree rape is punishable by 1 to 15 years in prison (21 O.S. § 1116), and furnishing alcohol to a minor is a felony punishable by a maximum of 5 years in prison (37 O.S. § 538). In this case, Judge William Musseman sentenced the defendant to 4-1/2 years in prison on each count, with the sentences to run concurrently.
These sentences are also to run concurrently with two felony DUI convictions. Leblanc, who has multiple DUI arrests on his record, was given a deferred sentence for one DUI in 2011 and a suspended sentence for another.
Because of his arrest, prosecutors filed a motion to accelerate the deferred sentence and a motion to revoke the suspended sentence. All sentences are to run concurrently, and the defendant is given credit for time served. Because of his second degree rape conviction, the man will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
Sex Crimes Accusations
The case is another demonstration of what happens when people jump to conclusions about allegations of a sex crime. Traditional knowledge holds that children don't lie about rape, but in this case, evidence was strong enough to demonstrate that the accuser did lie. While she is still considered a victim of rape, as the details of the incident were revealed, prosecutors learned that there was no kidnapping, and that the girl was not forcibly raped through force, fear, or use of alcohol to as a means of forcing submission.
Before rendering judgment, the court requires evidence and proof of the allegations. The court of public opinion, however, far too often renders judgment without any facts at all.